Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan enjoyed a solid start to 2020 with an opening round of 68 to sit at three under par after a low-scoring first day of the European Tour’s South African Open at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday.
The Dubliner – who lost his European Tour card last season but is still eligible to play in some of the smaller events – made birdies at the third, sixth, 11th and 14th with just one slip up at the last hole.
Bangor man Jonathan Caldwell is also the better side of par after day one with a round of 70 leaving him one under while Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell signed for a level par round of 71.
Moynihan sits six shots behind leader Johannes Veerman of the United States after he birdied nine holes in an error-free round of 62 to take a one-shot lead.
The 27-year-old from Texas continued his bright start to his debut season on the European Tour, as he came home in a blistering finish with four birdies in his last four holes to take an early clubhouse lead.
Veerman is one shot ahead of Italian Nino Bertasio, who held the joint lead after an eagle at the 17th but dropped a shot on the final hole, and South African JC Ritchie.
Sam Horsfield of England, and the home trio of Brandon Grace, Toto Thimba and Rourke van der Spuy are part of a group of six players a further shot back after shooting 64.
Van der Spuy eagled the 18th, preceded by three straight birdies, as he also finished strongly.
Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen, who began his run to last year’s title with a first round 62, was in a group of 11 players on 65.
The group included Rasmus Hojgaard of Denmark, who has already won on this season’s tour when he triumphed in the Mauritius Open in December.
Some 240 players are competing over two courses in the championship, which was first played in 1903.
Collated first round scores in the European Tour South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg, Randpark GC, Johannesburg, South Africa (British unless stated, par 71):
62 Johannes Veerman (USA)
63 JC Ritchie (Rsa), Nino Bertasio (Ita)
64 Sam Horsfield, Toto Thimba Jnr (Rsa), Rourke Van Der Spuy (Rsa), Peter Karmis (Rsa), Matias Calderon (Chi), Branden Grace (Rsa)
65 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Jeff Winther (Den), Jayden Trey Schaper (Rsa), Matthew Baldwin, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Rasmus Hojgaard (Den), Trevor Fisher Jnr (Rsa), Marcus Armitage, Harry Hall, George Coetzee (Rsa), David Micheluzzi (a) (Aus)
66 Hennie Otto (Rsa), Jaco Ahlers (Rsa), Martin Rohwer (Rsa), CJ Du Plessis (Rsa), Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Ruan Ger Smidt (Rsa), MJ Viljoen (Rsa), Connor Syme, Andy Sullivan, (a) Philip Geerts (Ita), Marcel Siem (Ger), Antoine Rozner (Fra), Min Woo Lee (Aus)
67 Jean-Paul Strydom (Rsa), Jacques P Ger Villiers (Rsa), Hennie Du Plessis (Rsa), Thriston Lawrence (Rsa), Sami Valimaki (Fin), Jarryd Felton (Aus), Mark Williams (Zim), Musiwalo Nethunzwi (Rsa), Maverick Antcliff (Aus), Daniel Greene (Rsa), Luke Jerling (Rsa), Jack Senior, Sean Crocker (USA)
68 Merrick Bremner (Rsa), Thabiso Ngcobo (Rsa), Shaun Norris (Rsa), Doug McGuigan, Caylum Boon (Rsa), Morten Orum Madsen (Den), Chris Paisley, Lars Van Meijel (Ned), Adrien Saddier (Fra), Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Oliver Farr, Lorenzo Scalise (a) (Ita), Julien Guerrier (Fra), Robin Sciot-Siegrist (Fra), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), Dean Burmester (Rsa), Casey Jarvis (Rsa), Thomas Detry (Bel), Louis De Jager (Rsa), Wynand Dingle (Rsa), Gavin Green (Mal)
69 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra), Justin Harding (Rsa), Toby Tree, Benjamin Poke (Den), Robin Roussel (Fra), David Drysdale, Jake Redman (Rsa), Daniel Van Tonder (Rsa), Yurav Premlall (a) (Rsa), Peetie Van Der Merwe (Rsa), Basil Wright (Rsa), Nicolai Hojgaard (Den), Steve Surry, Ross McGowan, Jacques Blaauw (Rsa), Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Neil Schietekat (Rsa), (a) Juran Dreyer (Rsa), Rhys Enoch, Zander Lombard (Rsa), Ryan Cairns (Zim), Brett Rumford (Aus), Andre Ger Decker (Rsa), Keith Horne (Rsa), Daniel Young, Stefan Wears-Taylor (Rsa), Jordan Duminy (Rsa), Dylan Kok (Rsa)
70 Philip Eriksson (Swe), Brandon Stone (Rsa), Derick Petersen (Rsa), Daan Huizing (Ned), Martin Simonsen (Den), Andrew Van Der Knaap (Rsa), Marc Warren, Dale Whitnell, Kyle Barker (Rsa), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Jonathan Caldwell (NIrl), Jean Hugo (Rsa), Duane Keun (Rsa), Luke Brown (Rsa), (a) Christo Lamprecht (Rsa), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Marc Cayeux (Zim), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Jordan Wrisdale, Christiaan Basson (Rsa), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Justin Walters (Rsa), Ricardo Santos (Por), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Stephen Ferreira (Por), Ruan Conradie (Rsa), Anthony Michael (Rsa), Makhetha Mazibuko (Rsa), Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa), Chase Hanna (USA), Fredrik From (Swe), Joachim B. Hansen (Den), (a) Jovan Rebula (Rsa), (a) Garrick Higgo (Rsa), Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa), Richard Bland, Anton Karlsson (Swe), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Hurly Long (Ger), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Deon Germishuys (a) (Rsa)
71 Michael G Palmer (Rsa), James Kingston (Rsa), Sebastian Heisele (Ger), Allister Ger Kock (Rsa), Daniel Gavins, Jonathan Agren (Swe), Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Bryce Easton (Rsa), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Robin Petersson (Swe), Chris Wood, Anton Haig (Rsa), James Morrison, Combrinck Smit (Rsa), Jamie Donaldson, Richard Sterne (Rsa), Garth Mulroy (Rsa), Clement Sordet (Fra), David Howell, Garrick Porteous, Martin Vorster (Rsa), Francesco Laporta (Ita), Oliver Bekker (Rsa), James Du Preez (a) (Rsa), Dave Coupland, Conor Purcell (Irl)
72 Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Paul Boshoff (Rsa), James Kamte (Rsa), Callum Mowat (Rsa), Ewan Ferguson, David Law, Ben Evans, Riekus Nortje (Rsa), Andre Nel (Rsa), (a) Louis Albertse (Rsa), Tom Gandy (IOM), Ockie Strydom (Rsa), Estiaan Conradie (Rsa), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Herman Loubser (a) (Rsa), Gregory Havret (Fra), Damien Perrier (Fra), Jake Roos (Rsa), Merrick Van Asm (Rsa), Bennie Van Der Merwe (Rsa), Keelan Van Wyk (Rsa), Madalitso Muthiya (Zam), Wilco Nienaber (Rsa)
73 Alex Haindl (Rsa), David Dixon, Roberto Lupini (Rsa), Aron Zemmer (Ita), Ryan Tipping (Rsa), David McIntyre (Rsa), Dylan Naidoo (Rsa), Adriel Poonan (Rsa), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Niklas Lemke (Swe), Lee Slattery, Wil Besseling (Ned), Max Schmitt (Ger), Laurie Canter, Eddie Pepperell, (a) Theunis Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Anton Prinsloo (Rsa), Franklin Manchest (Rsa)
74 Stanislav Matus (Cze), Callum Shinkwin, Heinrich Bruiners (Rsa), Chris Cannon, Craig Howie, Kieron Van Wyk (Rsa), Teaghan Gauche (Rsa), Richard McEvoy, Keenan Davidse (Rsa), Chris Swanepoel (Rsa), Dwayne Basson (Rsa), Jacquin Hess (Rsa), Kyle Ger Beer (Rsa)
75 Kyle McClatchie (Rsa), JJ Senekal (Rsa), Jesper Sandborg (Swe), Pieter Moolman (Rsa), Vaughn Groenewald (Rsa), Lyle Rowe (Rsa), Terence Mogapi (Rsa), Quintin Wilsnach (Rsa), Carlos Pigem (Spa)
76 Dylan Mostert (Rsa), Keelan Africa (Rsa), Wallie Coetsee (Rsa), Gerrit Foster (Rsa)
77 Samuel Simpson (Rsa), Clinton Grobler (Rsa), Titch Moore (Rsa), James Allan, Clayton Mansfield (Rsa)
78 Coert Groenewald (Rsa)
79 Benjamin Follet-Smith (Zim), Cameron Esau (Rsa), Gary Stal (Fra)
81 Tyrone Ryan (Rsa)